B-17 Free Communication/Slide - Physical Activity in Special Populations: MAY 28, 2008 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM ROOM: 102
Qi Gong and Tai Chi are practices involving movement and meditation based on ancient Chinese philosophies. There is growing evidence that Qi Gong and Tai Chi practices may be especially well suited for the older adult population since they are low impact, low cost, can be relatively easy to learn. Traditionally, Qi Gong and Tai Chi practice includes four major components: (1) Body posture adjustment and gentle movement, (2) Meditation and purposeful relaxation, (3) Breath regulation practice, and (4) Self-administered massage.
PURPOSE: Clark-Lindsey Village, a retirement community in Urbana, Illinois, currently offers a traditional Qi Gong/Tai Chi program and a chair-based exercise program to its residents. This project studied the extent to which the existing chair-based exercise program could be modified to include the four health practices associated with Qi Gong/Tai Chi. Our goal was to determine the extent to which the movements and practices associated with Qi Gong/Tai Chi could be merged with more traditional exercise in a manner that was enjoyed and accepted by older adults living in a retirement community.
METHODS: We compared Clark-Lindsey residents' responses and attitudes towards two physical activity programs: (1) a traditional 60-minute Qi Gong and Tai Chi program, and (2) a 35-minute chair-based program that includes Qi Gong/Tai Chi movements and practices for 12 weeks employing outcome measures including physical activity survey, senior fitness test, class observation, focus group interviews, and Qi Gong/Tai Chi attitude survey. The data were collected on 42 participants.
RESULTS: In the chair-based program, survey data revealed that most participants had a positive perception of the program and three of the four new Qi Gong/Tai Chi movements. However, both survey and focus group data revealed more negative perceptions related to self-administered massage. Interestingly, participants who had prior experience with Tai Chi or Qi Gong activities were more accepting of the new movement forms.
CONCLUSIONS: This study resulted in better understanding of the factors related to the physical active preferences of older adults. Furthermore, the results have direct applicability to designing and implementing future physical activity promotion programs for older persons.